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The STDEV.S formula calculates the standard deviation of a sample of data. It is commonly used to measure the amount of variation or dispersion of a set of values from their average. This formula accepts up to 255 arguments, which can be numbers, arrays, or references that contain numbers. The result is a measure of how spread out the data is, with a larger standard deviation indicating greater variability.


Use the STDEV.S formula with the syntax shown below, it has 1 required parameter and 1 optional parameter:

=STDEV.S(value1, [value2, ...])
  1. value1 (required):
    The first value or range of values to include in the calculation of the standard deviation.
  2. value2, ... (optional):
    Additional values or ranges of values to include in the calculation of the standard deviation. Up to 254 additional arguments can be provided.


Here are a few example use cases that explain how to use the STDEV.S formula in Google Sheets.

Measuring variability in test scores

A teacher wants to measure the variability of test scores for a class of 30 students. She enters the scores into Google Sheets and uses the STDEV.S formula to calculate the standard deviation. This allows her to see how much the scores deviate from the average and identify any outliers or patterns in the data.

Assessing risk in investment portfolios

An investor wants to assess the risk of different investment portfolios based on their past performance. She uses the STDEV.S formula to calculate the standard deviation of returns for each portfolio. This helps her to determine which portfolios have a higher risk and which ones are more stable.

Evaluating the precision of scientific measurements

A scientist wants to evaluate the precision of a set of measurements taken in an experiment. She uses the STDEV.S formula to calculate the standard deviation of the measurements. This allows her to determine how much the measurements deviate from the true value and estimate the uncertainty of the results.

Common Mistakes

STDEV.S not working? Here are some common mistakes people make when using the STDEV.S Google Sheets Formula:

Forgetting to convert data to numbers

The STDEV.S function only works with numerical data, so if you have text or other non-numeric data in the range, it will return an error. Make sure to convert any non-numeric data to numbers before using the function.

Using the wrong range

Make sure that the range you provide to the STDEV.S function includes all the values you want to include in the calculation. If you accidentally select the wrong range, you will get an incorrect result.

Incorrectly assuming a population

The STDEV.S function assumes that the range you provide is a sample of a larger population, and adjusts the calculation accordingly. If you are working with the entire population, you should use the STDEV.P function instead.

The following functions are similar to STDEV.S or are often used with it in a formula:


    The AVERAGE function calculates the average (arithmetic mean) of the values passed to it. It is commonly used to find the average of a range of cells containing numerical data.

  • MAX

    The MAX function returns the maximum value from a range of cells or a set of supplied values. It is commonly used to find the largest value in a dataset.

  • MIN

    The MIN formula is a statistical function that returns the smallest value in a set of numbers. It is commonly used to find the minimum value from a range of cells or a list of values.


    The COUNT formula returns the number of numeric values within a specified range of cells. It is commonly used to count the number of entries in a given range that meet specific criteria, such as counting the number of sales above a certain threshold.

  • SUM

    The SUM function in Google Sheets adds up a range of numbers. This function is most commonly used to sum the values in a range of cells.

Learn More

You can learn more about the STDEV.S Google Sheets function on Google Support.